Inordinate Ordnance: SAD students at U of G

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Written by Chris Carr


There is a virus going around the student population. It turns normally happy, young people into toe-dragging, sleep deprived zombies. Their relationships suffer from lack of attention. They gain a few pounds from an insatiable need to ingest carbohydrates and salty foods. They don’t exercise, what’s the point?  They are the SAD students of the University.

Season Affective Disorder (SAD), is a kind of depression that takes hold of students during the darker, colder months of the year—late autumn to early spring usually. Commonly known as the “winter blues”, the disorder can affect appetite, social ability, energy and anxiety levels of the person afflicted. However, the disorder comes with a best-before date as symptoms usually dissipate when the snow begins to melt, the sun shines longer and new episodes of Breaking Bad start.

The symptoms, while they can affect teenagers and children, seem to take hold around the age of twenty—or rather, about the half way point of any bachelor’s program. Students are greatly affected by SAD as they are sometimes away from home (some for the first time) and the university environment can sometimes have an antiseptic feeling to it. There is a certain loneliness that comes with the acquisition of adulthood, it’s like the first time you were left in the house alone for the weekend, it comes with an ominous sense of responsibility. You are the generation that will save the world, how is that not even a little depressing?

To combat this societal infection of chilly sadness, there are a few things students can do. Exercise, for one, will help curb the tide of the melancholy that comes with the beginning of November. But for some, myself included, this sounds like a worse fate than depression.

  1. Light, doctors say, is where SAD dies. Since the sun has gone away for most of the day, we don’t get sufficient vitamin D into our body, this combats depression. Supplement vitamin D pills can be taken through these months, as well and prescribes anti-depressants that are both safe and mild to use. There is even a special UV light that can be purchased. Sitting under the light for a few minutes each day are proven to help stymie the symptoms of SAD.   

It is also important, as students, to develop a paper-trail for the disorder. If you begin to feel the symptoms of SAD, please go see a doctor to establish a history for the problem. This can prove valuable when you get an essay back that you failed because you couldn’t get out of bed because, well, you didn’t feel there was a point. There are things profs and the university can do to counter-act these situations like defer marks and strip poor marks from transcripts. The important thing to remember is that it is a real disorder affecting over 15 per cent of the population each year, not just a sour disposition or bad couple of weeks.

One of the best deterrents for SAD is sociability. Being with friends will not only help you identify symptoms, but also alleviate some of them as well. So remember, throughout the exams and essays, keep an eye on each other. If one of your friends isn’t coming out on weekends or is generally being reclusive, take note and be active, you could be saving a life.

From the University of Guelph Counseling website: In Canada, suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds. It’s the second leading cause of death for young people.


For more information on SAD, please visit the Canadian Mental Health Association at www.cmha.ca.  The university’s health clinic will always be able to help as well and are well aware of the dangers of SAD. Their extension is 52131 and they can be reached Monday to Friday- 8:30am to 4:30pm.  Also, UofG’s counseling services are available to talk here: Level 3, University Centre Ext. 53244 Open Monday to Friday - 8:15 am to 4:15 pm


Chris Carr is Editor-in-Chief of The Cannon. Inordinate Ordnance publishes every Thursday in The Cannon and in The Ontarion Student Newspaper at the University of Guelph.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question.



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